James Obst is a famous poker player from Australia that has brought another feather to his cap. This poker pro has more than $2.5 million in live poker cashes and he achieved the majority of his best results at home turf. Now he has won World Series of Poker (WSOP) gold bracelet winning the $10,000 Razz Championship last month in June 2017.
Entering the 2017 WSOP, the 26-year old had already played his way to the final table on six occasions – including a runner-up run in the $10,000 Razz World Championship last summer.
He started strong out of the gates this year, posting another second-place finish in the $2,500 Limit Mixed Triple Draw Lowball event, before adding an eighth-place result in the $10,000 Dealers Choice Six-Handed World Championship days later.
Earlier a winner of Asia-Pacific Poker Tour (APPT), Aussie Millions, Victorian Poker Championship, and Perth Poker Championship titles –Obst returned to the final table of the $10,000 Razz World Championship and enjoyed the endgame that had always eluded him. He defeated American pro Eric Kurtzman heads-up in the seven-card low-hand contest, claiming the title of Razz World Champion along with $265,138 in prize money.
Having played his way through the 97-runner field to find a golden opportunity for redemption – and a long-awaited gold bracelet – Obst was confronted with a murderer’s row of recognisable pros.
Nick Schulman (ninth for $21,946), Brandon Shack-Harris (sixth for $43,370), Anthony Zinno (fifth for $57,903), and David “ODB” Baker (third for $112,645) are all veteran pros with bracelets under their belt – but Obst was best on this day.
According to reports provided by PokerNews, he brought a slim chip lead into the unofficial nine-handed final table, but by the time three players were left in contention, Kurtzman had built a big lead with 3.8 million chips to 500,000 apiece for Obst and Baker.
A well-timed eighty-six low allowed Obst to double through Kurtzman and his eighty-seven, and Baker bowed out in third place a short time later, leaving Adelaide’s own a 3:1 deficit to overcome.
At one point Kurtzman extended his lead, climbing to 4.15 million while Obst held just 700,000 – but Obst wouldn’t be denied. Following the dinner break Obst went on a heater, flipping the stack sizes before finishing Kurtzman off with an A-2-3-5-8 low.
This is what Obst remarked who spoke with veteran tournament reporter Mickey Doft of PokerNews just minutes after the final card was dealt, attempting to describe his emotional state after finally reaching poker’s pinnacle:
“I guess it’s a new experience to win a bracelet. When you win one and it’s online I’m probably… I’m obviously not celebrating wildly like some people might, because that’s just my nature.”
With the breakthrough bracelet win, Obst has now added $387,568 to his bankroll through the first three weeks of the WSOP. His run of first-, second-, and eighth-place finishes has also thrust Obst into the WSOP Player of the Year race, as he now holds 415.77 points – trailing only the 459.41-point performance of Pablo Mariz.
While Obst was on his victory dance, fellow countryman Alexander Lynskey also hoped to do the same at Event #23: US$2,620 No Limit Hold’em – The Marathon. In Lynskey’s past WSOP appearances, he was seen at a couple of final tables however this was the first time he reached the heads up round. The only hurdle left to the top was Venezuela’s Joseph Di Rosa Rojas who proved to be very difficult for the Aussie. In the end, Lynskeyhad to settle for a runner-up finish, a very respectable result out of the massive 1,759 field. While this was his only WSOP 2017 cash so far, he earned his largest-ever tournament career score of US$426,663.